I’ve been very harsh on the multitude of films that Bruce Willis has made for Emmett/Furla/Oasis Films. The low budget thrillers have mostly been terrible, with Willis cramming his role into a day’s shooting for a big fat pay cheque and I wasn’t particularly excited about the prospect of spending a couple of hours watching and reviewing yet another. However, I’ve been a Bruce Willis fan since the days of Moonlighting and the movie is top-lined by the always good Christopher Meloni, so I unselfishly tackled the cinematic bull by the horns and embraced Mauraders for the readers of Movies In Focus. I wasn’t expecting much, but I walked away very impressed by Steven C. Miller’s movie. This is a great little flick.
Meloni is an FBI agent leading a team (including Dave Bautista and Adrian Grenier) tracking down a gang of bank robbers who appear to be focusing on banks owned by Bruce Willis’ shady Hubert. There’s crossing, double crossing and all sorts of twisty turns in this well paced, engaging thriller.
Christopher Meloni adds a touch of class to proceedings, anchoring the film with in a world weary lead role. He has a couple of scenes opposite Bruce Willis and he makes the Die Hard star up his acting game. Willis hasn’t been this engaged on-screen in years and while he might be in this for the million dollar payday, he’s at least putting in the effort for a change. The material here is better than most Emmett/Furla/Oasis Films – and it shows. This might not be a theatrical release but it has an old fashioned feel, the type of flick that might have played a multiplex back in the day.
Director Steven C. Miller has crafted a quietly impressive film – he’s obviously strongly influenced by Michael Mann’s Heat and Ben Affleck’s The Town, but there’s a Sidney Lumet vibe at play here, with the dirty cops and shady shenanigans. It might be a touch convoluted, but you have to give writers Michael Cody and Chris Sivertson credit for trying.
In a world where VOD/straight -to-DVD thrillers are ten a penny, Marauders is a diamond in the rough. It’s an enjoyable movie with strong performances and intriguing story beats. It’s worth seeking out, if only for the chance to see a sparkle of life from Bruce Willis.